A fresh version of “The Daily Show” will debut Monday (March 23), with a catchy title.
“The Daily Social Distancing Show” will be 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays on Comedy Central. It’s the latest answer to latenight’s effort to stay topical, yet stay safe.
As the coronavirus shutdown set in, latenight shows retreated to reruns. “Saturday Night Live” had planned to have a new episode March 28, with John Krasinski hosting and Dua Lipa as music guest; instead, it’s in limbo and will rerun the Scarlett Johansson/Niall Horan episode. ABC even nudged Jimmy Kimmel back an hour, at least temporarily, to 12:35 a.m. weekdays; “Nightline,” with its virus reports, moved up to 11:35 p.m.
Many anchors – Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon – found hybrid approaches. They taped topical monologs from home (sometimes adding other bits), before filling the rest of the hour with a rerun. Colbert even managed to do a musical number, working long-distance with Jon Batiste.
Those at-home variations have their technical imperfections. Kimmel got an e-mail from one worried viewer, who thought he looked sick; that’s just how he looks without make-up, he told her. Yes, his eyes might seem slightly sunken; “I’m not sick, I’m Italian.”
But things are more difficult for people whose monologs make up half or all the show.
Samantha Bee boomed ahead, with only staffers – spread far apart – in the studio audience. She also introduced “Beeing at Home” segments, in which she argued with off-camera husband Jason Jones, while offering such tips as “washing your hams” and “how to not kill your husband.” She has new episodes at 10:30 p.m. Wednesdays on Comedy Central, rerunning at 11:30 Wednmesdays and then 11 p.m. Saturdays.
“The Daily Show” is in its 25th season and had a stretch of 10 straight Emmys as best variety show. It’s had to do some quick re-adjusting now, however.
Last week, it used social median to test-run three shows (of varying length) done away from the studio. Trevor Noah did his monolog from home, then cut to bits by correspondents. Now that version takes over the 11 p.m. spot.